"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Review Moment: Quest Study Bible, NIV

The New International Version (NIV) text is the most widely read modern-English Bible translation, but this one is different. It has 7,000 – yes, you read that right, 7,000 questions and answers concerning some of the common and some of the most perplexing parts of the Bible. I turned to Psalm 23 to get an idea of the questions and answers. There were three - how does God guide us?, how could God’s rod and staff bring comfort?, and why prepare a meal in the presence of enemies? I was sufficiently satisfied with the answers.

I then went to the New Testament and looked up Acts 10:9. The question posed is “Why did Peter go up on the roof?” and has an excellent, succinct answer. With all the other helps - like articles, maps, charts, and timelines, even someone who dreads Bible study could become an avid Bible reader. I recommend this Bible because it encourages study and research - along with other Bibles and study helps, of course.

As a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I was given a promotional copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Product Details:

  • Hardcover: 1984 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 27, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310450810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310450818
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Review Moment: NIrV Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids, Hardcover By: Zondervan

The NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids had me excited with the word 'illustrated.' I am a visual learner as are many children, so the idea of having a full-size, Genesis-to-Revelation, almost 'grownup' Bible with visual aids will appeal to children from about 4-8 years of age. The single columns make for easy reading, although the font is small for my older eyes, but then again - it's not designed for me.

At first glance, I wasn't sure about the lack of verse numbers, but as a Bible teacher, I always stress reading verses in context, so this layout encourages that practice. I didn't realize until I'd handled the Bible a few times that a two-sided poster comes tucked into the back cover with the Holy Land on one side and a genealogy of Bible characters on the other - an excellent bonus and learning tool.

This won’t be a first Bible, but I would certainly introduce this to children once they are able to handle a special book like this with care.

As a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I was given a promotional copy of the book.  I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Product details
  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 1552 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz; Illustrated edition (June 4, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031076579X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310765790
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds

Monday, November 06, 2017

Poetry Moment: Ideal Meal - a Fun Thanksgiving Poem

A Thanksgiving poem - for fun!

Ideal Meal

The Thanksgiving turkey
Tasted like jerky
With lumpy potatoes
And sour tomatoes
The dressing too sodden and moist.

The rolls didn’t rise
And Mama’s sweet pies
Were bitter to taste
Gooey as paste
But in spite of it all, we rejoiced.

We thanked God above
For His bountiful love
For freedom to meet
And for food to eat
Taking time to tell God how we feel.

For even though dinner
Wasn’t a winner
We all overlook
That Mama can’t cook.
Thanksgiving is more than a meal.

© 2008 Donna J. Shepherd

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Night Before Christmas

I love these lyrics that so beautifully capture the beauty of the Holy Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Be blessed and Merry CHRISTmas.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Devotion: Better Than It Was

Better than It Was

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  
- Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV) 

Today I listened to a recording on NewLife.com about procrastination. The two counselors giving advice had a good deal to say about perfectionism and the phrases and attitudes our parents had. My dad's favorite saying was, "If you can't do something right, don't do it at all." While his heart was in the right place and he meant that you need to do things properly, for me, it meant that if I didn't have time to do a task perfectly, I just needed to put it off.  And as life always has a way of getting in the way, I never could find the time to do many of the things I longed to. My ‘to do’ list got longer and longer and more and more overwhelming.

Dr. Milan Yerkovich talked about his own perfectionism and how his wife’s attitude freed him. I love Kay Yerkovich's saying and will adopt it from now on:  "It's better than it was." If I can't clean the entire house and instead, only get to one room, well, it's better than it was. If I can't write the entire devotional that I long to, as long as I can get a few words written, my book is better than it was. If I'm unable to read ten chapters in the Bible and pray for an hour a day, but have time to read a few key verses and pray with a sincere heart, then my soul will have been fed and you know what? I’m better off spiritually than I was.

Yes, in my advancing years, I’m adopting a new, less perfectionistic, and less stifling motto. I won’t be a slacker – I'll always offer my best, but my best will be all that I can do at the time with God’s help.

The Apostle Paul told the church in Corinth, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 1:31b). I have many goals, but I’ll never accomplish anything if I wait for the perfect time and place. The key word for me is ‘Do!’ – not wait. Let’s get busy working for God’s glory.

Now where did I put that list? 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Mom Moment: For Mother's Day

I wrote a poem called Mom's Retreat and I'm certain I'm not the only mother who's ever escaped to this special place. To read it on CWAHM.com, click HERE and leave a comment there or here on this blog. Thanks!
Happy Mother's Day. - Donna


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Accused Without Cause - Devotionals by Donna (with Audio)

Today I listened to Mark 15. I have Audio Bible bookmarked and love to listen to the Bible while I work.

One verse caught my attention: "And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.” Mark 15:3

Jesus stood before Pilate while the chief priests accused Him of perverting the nation, rousing troublemakers, creating riots and dissension. In addition, they charged Him with forbidding the payment of tribute to Rome, and teaching people to not pay their taxes. Third, and most serious, they charged Him with wanting to be king instead of Caesar. Pilate marveled at the fact that when accused of these crimes, Jesus did not speak up in a defensive manner.

Have you ever been falsely accused? I'm one of five children. When we were little and Mom couldn't get to the bottom of a story, she'd discipline ALL of us. Oh, how exasperating it was to be disciplined for something I didn't do!

To think of Jesus, Who had never sinned, having to endure the mocking and jeering crowd of accusers both amazes me and breaks my heart. He did it for me. He did it for you. Why would He do it? The only possible explanation is His compelling love.

The curse He suffered was not for His own sin, but for ours. Clearly, Pilate thought Jesus to be innocent, undeserving of the death penalty so aggressively sought by the Jewish authorities, but His accusers forced Pilate to make a decision about Jesus.

We must all decide what to do about Jesus. I hope you’ve chosen to accept Him as your King.

Our response to Christ’s suffering on our behalf should be one of gratitude. Only because of His sacrifice do we have hope for eternity.

Jesus' death was followed by His resurrection, ascension, and sending the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, enabling us to obey Christ and follow Him.

The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Because Jesus gave Himself for me, I want to give my life to Him. How about you?

Oh, and I'm sure you know - sometimes I was the culprit, and my siblings were the exasperated ones!

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit, Who helps me live for You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

*Posted 3-25-05; Audio 4-23-11

Fun Moment: I Know Jesus Loves Me

On an Easter Sunday, to introduce my husband's sermon, I sang the song “Redeemer” written by Nicole C. Mullins. One of the lines in the chorus says, “I know my redeemer lives.” Then my husband preached an Easter sermon titled “I Know He Lives.” During his sermon, he spoke of the tremendous love of Christ.

So after church when a little girl about seven came running up to Don exclaiming, “I know Jesus loves me!” he thought she must have been paying attention to the sermon.

“I know, Honey! Jesus loves you.”

She grinned even wider, followed him a few more steps and said, “Pastor, I know Jesus loves me.”

Don turned around, patted her on the head and said, “Praise the Lord. He does!”

Finally, the little girl sighed in exasperation and said, “I KNOW 'Jesus Loves Me.' Don’t you want to hear me sing it?”


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review Moment: Cook'n Recipe Management System

In February 2012, I posted a review of Cook'n, a Recipe Management System. My original review can be found here: http://reviewsbydonnashepherd.blogspot.com/2012/02/review-of-cookn-recipe-organizer.html

Cook'n has been the #1 recipe software program for more than 20 years, and the best way to organize your recipes. I liked the program very much, but now - a new version has been released with even more features. Are you on Pinterest? I have entire Pinterest pages devoted to recipes. I'm excited that Cook'n can even sync Pinterest recipes. Yes! 

Watch  the video for more information and visit the website for more videos and to purchase: http://www.dvo.com/. You can like Cook'n on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Recipe.Organizer

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Devotion: Valentine's Day - Say, “I Love You” to Someone Today

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:9

February is the month of love. A lot of people think Hallmark thought up Valentine’s Day, but few know how it really originated.

One legend says Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to another legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that he fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression still in use today.

Since America has been at war, there is a heightened awareness of the fragility of life. If you haven’t told your spouse, your children, or your loved ones you love them, why not do it today? We don’t know what tomorrow holds or even if there will be a tomorrow and of course the Lord could return at any moment for His Church.

Even if you don’t have a sweetheart, perhaps you can think of someone who could benefit from an expression of love from you. Just think – there may be someone in your life who won’t be hugged or told someone loves him or her if you don’t take the initiative.

What about your church family? What is one of the ways we know we are in the body of Christ? I John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

Lastly, but most importantly, I want to tell the Savior of my soul, the Maker of my heart and the Creator of love itself that I love Him.

Say, "I love you" to someone today!

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for all those who love me, and for the privilege of loving others. Most of all, I thank You, God, for Your love, mercy, and grace shown through Jesus Christ.

Donna J. Shepherd © 2012 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced by Crossmap or any other website without dated written permission from Donna. - Thanks!

*First posted 2-14-06

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Interview Moment: Authors' Garden

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Joyful Moment - One Lovely Blog Award

I received the One Lovely Blog Award. 

Here are the rules for accepting this award: 

• Thank the person who nominated you for the award. 

Thank you, April Boyer, for blessing me today. 

• Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post. 

 • Share 7 things about yourself.
 • Nominate up to 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog. 

7 things people might not know about me: 

1. I used to live across the street from a Native American Mound. 
2. I first sung in front of the church at the age of 9. 
3. I have at the very least six books started at any given time. 
4. I love to cook. I don't like to clean up. 
5. I have become a Bird Nerd and have multiple feeders and camera ready.  
6. I went to the top of the St. Louis Arch.  
7. I usually have over a dozen Christmas trees in my house.  

Now to nominate other bloggers deserving of this award. All of these are truly lovely and worth discovering. 

http://kit-grady.blogspot.com/ (Kit Grady Creations) 
http://aheart4heaven.blogspot.com/ (Elaine Bridge - A Heart 4 Heaven)

There were many more I could have nominated, but I'm sure the love will spread from here. Congratulations, fellow blogging friends. Pass on the blessing. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Writers' Moment: "Writing on Purpose"

My devotion "Writing on Purpose" is featured this week on @RobinLBayne blog "Between Sundays." I hope you are blessed. 

Between Sundays: Week Fifty-Seven: Donna Shepherd: Writing On Purpose  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fun Moment - Quadruplet Babies Laughing

If this doesn't bring joy to your heart, I don't know what would. These babies are precious.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Writers' Moment: Write a Memorable Devotion in Three Steps

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11-12 (ESV)

Devotionals may be short but pack a message and inspiration into very few words. Many times, I have people ask how I come up with the ideas for my devotionals. Most often, I say that the key is to be sensitive – to the Holy Spirit when He speaks to you with an idea, to the circumstances surrounding you where you'll find inspiration, and to the people you interact with or listen to who may motivate or inspire you to share a message.

Have you read a devotional first thing in the morning that stayed with you all day? How do you affect your readers?
  • 1. First and foremost, ask, "Is my writing in line with Scripture?"
Many times, God will give you a message as you're reading and meditating on His Word. Even if God gives you an idea first, your next step is to research the Bible to make sure your message is biblically sound.
  • 2. "Is my message relevant?" 
Are you writing to moms? Dads? Grads? Grandparents? Children? The list goes on and on. With so few words, you must focus on your audience with precision addressing their needs and concerns.
  • 3. "How's my summation?"  
A devotion is so short that you have to conclude with a punch - a challenge, a question, an encouraging word, a prayer. What do you want your reader to remember?

I could go on and on about the subject, but I'm giving advice about writing with brevity. I'll simply say – Ask the Holy Spirit to help you share the message God wants you to share today. Read your Word. Pray. Listen. Be sensitive. Write.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Devotion: Which Path Have You Chosen?

Verse of the Day: Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

Have you ever been waiting in line to check out at some place like Sam's Club and a new register opens? Whoosh! The people in the other lines flock to the new one hoping to get checked out faster. After a few seconds, most disperse and end up at the back of the lines they were in originally. I've done it myself -- and oh, is it exasperating! 

It's easy to follow the crowd, isn't it? We've all done it. Have you ever done something really goofy just because some of your friends coaxed you into it? Again - I've done it myself. 

When it comes to standing strong in your walk with Jesus, sometimes you have to go against the grain, stand out against the crowd, and dare to be different. If the gate to destruction is wide, then that would be the easier path. Our natural tendency is to take the easy way, but Jesus never said it would be easy. He said, "Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also" (John 15:20). 

I don't want to be led down a path of destruction and I'm sure you don't either. I'm always struck by the fact that the Jesus said that those who find their way to heaven will be few. I want to be a part of that number, don't you? 

Prayer: Lord, I call on You for strength as I journey down this road of life. Thank you for that narrow path that lead to life everlasting. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Devotion: Let's Go to Church!

Verse of the Day: Hebrews 13:15 - By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.

How about this for a change? Instead of thinking, "Oh, man, I SHOULD go to church today..." why not flip that around to "I GET to go to church today!" It's a privilege and a blessing to get to be with like-minded believers, worship God. get re-charged, and come away REVIVED.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that I can worship You any place, any time, but today, I make the choice to be with brothers and sisters to praise You as a member of the Body of Christ. Bless this day and Your Church. We honor You. In Jesus' precious, sweet, holy Name I pray. Amen. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Devotion: Born to Die

The other night I heard the song by Steppenwolf, Born to Be Wild. It brought back memories of Junior High and High School - that song had legs! When it came on the radio, my friends and I turned the volume up, and da-da-da'd through the verses, and on the chorus belted out, "Born to be wi-l-d," and played air guitar or in my case, drums. Oh, were we wild.

Born to be wild. Born to -- you fill in the blank. Sometimes we watch sports and think someone like Michael Jordan was born to play basketball. As a wee child, Julie Andrews opened her mouth, and a voice with a four-octave range flowed forth. She was born to sing.

During this season, I've reflected on Jesus Christ's mission. He taught like no other. But men and women have been anointed to teach. He healed the sick, yet gave the same power to the disciples. "He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness (Matthew 10:1 niv)."

Jesus performed miracles. We read in Acts that God did extraordinary miracles through Paul.

Jesus taught, healed the sick, and performed miracles, but He was born for something much greater. He was born to die.

Mary, Joseph, the disciples, Paul. None could perform a task He alone came to earth to accomplish. I sing a song called, Mary, Did You Know. The baby Mary delivered would deliver her - and us. His blood alone atones for sin. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

As an eight-year old girl, I stood up front in church one morning, and sang a song a capella. I don't even remember the song, but I do remember the grownups hovering around me after church. "Oh, honey, you were born to sing!" "Donna, you must use your talent for the Lord." And I did for several years.

Then life - banking and babies, housework and hum-drum, overcame my song. I threw myself into my mission of motherhood. My mom made me proud by saying I was born to be a mom.

Now I write. I love it. I can't imagine not writing now. Was I born to write? To sing? To be a mother? In whatever area of ministry He leads, I pray I accomplish my mission.

One thing I know - if I shed every drop of blood in my body, I could not atone for even one person's sin. I thank Jesus Christ that He fulfilled His purpose. During the Christmas holidays, I feel a twinge of sadness because even though we celebrate His birth, I know Jesus Christ was born to die.

But hallelujah, He arose to live again. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (II Corinthians 5:15 niv). And even though I will one day die, because of His sacrifice, I, too, will live again.

Let's praise Him and vow to fulfill the purpose God has for our lives - as scribes and singers, guitar players or poets, parents, grandparents - as Christians.
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